Left and Right, or Being who/where you are

An online devised performance directed by Ioana B. Jucan

In this time of intense divisions, a left partisan and a right partisan speaking with each other seems like an impossible conversation – or, at least, a conversation that is impossible to have meaningfully on certain so-called “hot-button” topics and complex realities, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or immigration.

This devised, interactive online multimedia performance stages scenes that feature such conversations … performed by both human actors and bots. The human and machinic actors play different characters that embody, complicate, and deconstruct different types of performative, prescribed political identities on the left-right spectrum (approached with a US-focus but through a transnational lens). These political identities are shown to be not static or unalterable, but rather, the result of relational, performative processes that occur over time and with technology. Theatrically playing with(in) these processes, Left and Right aims to call forth more capacious ways of being – and being political.

Commissioned and presented by the Brown Arts Initiative (now Institute) as part of REMAKING the Real. Presented by the Re-Fest Festival 2021.

Year: 2021.

Concept & Directing – Ioana B. Jucan
Text – Patrick Elizalde, Andra Jurj, Marcela Mancino, Fabiola Petri, Ioana B. Jucan, Melody Devries
Actors – Marcela Mancino, Patrick Elizalde, Andra Jurj, Fabiola Petri
Digital Design and Development – Tong Wu, Nuntinee Tansrisakul & Yuguang Zhang
Theatrical Design – Marcela Mancino
Bot Design – Roopa Vasudevan
Bot Concept – Roopa Vasudevan, Anthony Burton
Choreography – Adriana Bârză-Cârstea
Sound Design – Peter Bussigel
Production Manager – Madeline Greenberg
Dramaturgy – Melody Devries
Performance Consultants – Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Alex Juhasz, and the Beyond Verification Team associated with the Digital Democracies Institute (Simon Fraser University)

This performance was developed with the support of the Brown Arts Initiative. Part of the research was made possible by the support of the Canada 150 Research Chair’s program and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Audience Responses

  •  “Fascinating work”
  • “You made the virtual less painful!”
  • “Beautiful work”
  • “Out of this Earth!”
  • “I enjoyed so much of the visual directing and interface in the online show.”
  • “Soooooo deep!!!”
  • “unlike anything I’ve seen”
  • “Really cool experience!”
  • “I was really fascinated by the subject matter and enjoyed the complexity of the storytelling.”
  • “Such innovations and ways of playing with the media, loved it”
  • “I really enjoyed Left and Right.  Compelling ideas, terrific acting, and fascinating technology.”
  • “It was stunning. I’m in tears. Brilliant work!”
  • “Incredible work”

Press/Publications

“Left and Right or Being who/where you are” brings political performance to virtual platform

Performing Left and Right (Theatre Journal 73.3)